Legislative Column - Feb. 21, 2014

Along with Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Marshfield, I co-sponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 22, which urges the National Park Service to take one of three options in regard to the Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR): 1) Choose the "no-action alternative" option of the general management plan, 2) Enter into negotiations with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) for the return of the ONSR to the State of Missouri, or 3) Enter into a contract with the MDC for the management, operation, and maintenance of the ONSR. While I agree we need to protect the ONSR, we must not overlook our citizens' heritage and livelihood. Tourism is one of the most critical components of our rural economy and the ONSR is the primary attraction.

Thousands of out-of-state as well as in-state hikers, campers, boaters, hunters, fishermen and horseback riders visit this area annually and bring many irreplaceable dollars when they come. Any further limitations or federal encroachment on the access to these assets would severely impact our local economy. We need to be promoting this beautiful and wonderful resource, not restricting access to it! The Missouri Senate passed this resolution and is now headed to the House of Representatives.

Another bill I voted for was Senate Bill 668, which would require insurance companies that already offer coverage of both oral and intravenously administered chemotherapy treatment options to provide the same out-of-pocket costs for each treatment. The bill would also prohibit insurance companies from raising out-of-pocket costs for treatments administered by injection. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed this year. This disease remains the second most common cause of death in our country, accounting for nearly one of every four deaths.

While chemotherapy remains one of the most widely used methods to fight cancer, Senate Bill 668 would give Missourians the freedom to break the bonds of being tied to a machine that injects the chemotherapy drug — sometimes driving hours to a hospital or clinic to receive treatment — and instead take this medication in pill form without paying more money for this particular method of treatment. In addition, testimony presented in committee also showed that there weren’t as many side effects from oral chemotherapy treatment.

The Missouri Senate also gave its final approval to two measures this week relating to the protection of our Second Amendment rights. Senate Bill 613, also known as the Second Amendment Preservation Act, lists various declarations made by the General Assembly regarding the U.S. Constitution and the scope of the federal government's authority relating to the manufacture, ownership and use of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition. Inaccurate information was circulated through various outlets about this bill regarding an amendment that was attached to the bill. The amendment in question was removed from the bill before we passed it.

Senate Joint Resolution 36 is a constitutional amendment that states citizens have the right to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of firearms to defend their family, in addition to defending their home, self and property. If approved by voters, the amendment would provide the rights guaranteed under this provision in our constitution are unalienable.

Capitol Visitors

I was happy to visit with many folks who traveled here this week from the 25th district. Robert and Marilyn Trankle, Donna Gentry, and Jane Hanks were here with the University of Missouri Extension Council. I also met with Alan Pendergrass, Emme Hawkins, Emily Harder, and Toni Becker and her son Jack, who made the trip to attend the Rally for Excellent Education. Terry Reese from Poplar Bluff also stopped by my office; he was here with Missouri Nurses Association for Nurse Advocacy Day. Tim Hancock, Garrett Payne, and their agriculture education teacher Randy Stephens from Puxico were here for the Career and Technical Education Student Organization (CTSO) Legislative Day.

Lastly, Todd Allen and a group of students in the ACHIEVE program at Three Rivers College (TRC) also visited. The ACHIEVE program helps first generation students attending college with hands on guidance and assistance. I shared with them some of my experiences attending TRC, and heard from the students about their goals and achievements. They had a nice time visiting their State Capitol and seeing firsthand how our state government works.

If you would like to read more about the legislation or committees mentioned in this column, visit www.senate.mo.gov/libla. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

State Senator Doug Libla
201 W. Capitol Ave., Rm. 226
Jefferson City, MO 65101
(573) 751-4843

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